Role of bile acids in the regulation of food intake, and their dysregulation in metabolic disease

Cong Xie, Weikun Huang, Richard L. Young, Karen L. Jones, Michael Horowitz, Christopher K. Rayner, Tongzhi Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Bile acids are cholesterol-derived metabolites with a well-established role in the digestion and absorption of dietary fat. More recently, the discovery of bile acids as natural ligands for the nuclear farnesoid X receptor (FXR) and membrane Takeda G-protein-coupled receptor 5 (TGR5), and the recognition of the effects of FXR and TGR5 signaling have led to a paradigm shift in knowledge regarding bile acid physiology and metabolic health. Bile acids are now recognized as signaling molecules that orchestrate blood glucose, lipid and energy metabolism. Changes in FXR and/or TGR5 signaling modulates the secretion of gastrointestinal hormones including glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and peptide YY (PYY), hepatic gluconeogenesis, glycogen synthesis, energy expenditure, and the composition of the gut microbiome. These effects may contribute to the metabolic benefits of bile acid sequestrants, metformin, and bariatric surgery. This review focuses on the role of bile acids in energy intake and body weight, particularly their effects on gastrointestinal hormone secretion, the changes in obesity and T2D, and their potential relevance to the management of metabolic disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1104
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 2 Apr 2021


  • Bile acids
  • Body weight
  • Energy intake
  • FXR
  • Gastrointestinal hormones
  • Obesity
  • TGR-5
  • Type 2 diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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